Michael Glading was 16 stories up when the floor beneath him began to "move like crazy".
The North Shore man was sleeping in his Jakarta hotel room when a 6.5 magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia's main island of Java, killing at least one person with reports of more deaths and injuries.
Glading is the tournament director for the New Zealand Golf Open and is in Jakarta for a golf tournament.
He told the Herald the quake was like nothing he had ever felt before, having only experienced small quakes before.
"Oh my god, the room was swaying from side to side. You almost had to plant one foot solidly on the ground. It was certainly 10 seconds where the building was really moving and you thought 'is this it?'
"It certainly made me appreciate what the people of Christchurch went through."
The 64-year-old didn't run for the door, figuring if the building, which was about 20 storeys high, collapsed the protection of a doorway wouldn't help much.
"I'm a bit fatalistic. What will be will be."
After the shaking stopped he returned to bed and when morning came saw no damage in the part of the city where he was staying.
"It's such a big city, people just get on with it."
The tremor was 90km deep and centred near the coastal town of Cipatujah, 300km from
A 62-year-old man was confirmed by National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho to have died in western Java, and there were reports of deaths and injuries in the same region.
There were also reports of buildings collapsing in the city of Tasikmalaya in western Java and in several western Java districts, he said.